Franz von Waldeck
Count Franz von Waldeck (1491 – 15 July 1553), was Prince-Bishop of Münster, Osnabrück
Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück
The Prince-Bishopric of Osnabrück was a prince-bishopric centred on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Osnabrück. The diocese was erected in 772 and is the oldest see founded by Charlemagne, in order to Christianize the conquered stem-duchy of Saxony....

, and Minden
Bishopric of Minden
The Bishopric of Minden was a Roman Catholic diocese and a state, Prince-bishopric of Minden , of the Holy Roman Empire. Its capital was Minden which is in modern day Germany.-History:...

 and a leading figure in putting down the Münster Rebellion
Münster Rebellion
The Münster Rebellion was an attempt by radical Anabaptists to establish a communal sectarian government in the German city of Münster. The city became an Anabaptist center from 1534 to 1535, and fell under Anabaptist rule for 18 months — from February 1534, when the city hall was seized and...


In the early 1530s, the city of Münster instituted reformation, but soon fell under the control of the radical Bernhard Rothmann
Bernhard Rothmann
Bernhard Rothmann was a 16th century Reformer and an Anabaptist leader in the city of Münster . He was born in Stadtlohn around 1495.-Overview:...

. Franz von Waldeck took action against the city, including the confiscation of goods owned by city merchants. In February 1533, both sides came to an agreement and the hostilities ceased.

By early 1534, Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

s were in control, and Bishop Waldeck besieged the city. On Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 Sunday, 1534, Anabaptist leader Jan Matthys
Jan Matthys
Jan Matthys was a charismatic Anabaptist leader, regarded by his followers as a prophet....

 brought a band forth out of the city, and was defeated and killed. John of Leiden
John of Leiden
John of Leiden , was an Anabaptist leader from the Dutch city of Leiden. He was the illegitimate son of a Dutch mayor, and a tailor's apprentice by trade.-Life:...

 then installed himself as king of the city of New Jerusalem (Münster). With the help of a traitor from within, Bishop Waldeck's troops took the city back on 24 June 1535.


Franz was the son of Count Philipp II von Waldeck-Eisenberg (1453-1524), who while being originally destined for the ministry, took a greater interest in his Family House's more worldly duties and thus became governor of the County of Ravensberg. His mother was the Countess Catherine von Solms-Lich (1467-1492), daughter of Count Kuno von Solms-Lich and Countess Walpurgis von Dhaun. Franz was the third and last son of six children from the marriage of Count Phillip and Countess Catherine. A year after Franz's birth, his mother died.

Franz von Waldeck was early on destined to fulfill his father's original ambition for a place in the aristocratic cathedral chapter. Because Chapter members were required to obtain a secular law degree, Franz began studying in Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...

 in 1506 and moved to Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 in 1510. Without having received sacred orders, he did receive numerous "Kanonikerpräbenden". Franz was among other things, a canon in Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

, Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

 and Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, as well as dean of St. Alexander's Foundation in Einbeck
Einbeck is a town in the district Northeim, in southern Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located on the German Timber-Frame Road.-Economy:Einbeck is famous for its 600 year old beer brewery, home of Einbecker Bier, the origin for the term Bock beer...


Franz von Waldeck's attitude towards the Reformation
- Movements :* Protestant Reformation, an attempt by Martin Luther to reform the Roman Catholic Church that resulted in a schism, and grew into a wider movement...

 was ambiguous. In 1533, by treaty, he conceded full religious freedom to the city of Münster
Münster is an independent city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the state and is considered to be the cultural centre of the Westphalia region. It is also capital of the local government region Münsterland...

. When the Lutheran movement failed due to acts of radical Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

 sect, he reasserted control over the city with help from the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Soon after the surrender Münster, which was re-Catholicised, Franz turned his influence to simply furthering the teachings of Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

. His reformation efforts in 1541 met with unified resistance in the Bishopric of Münster. In 1543 in Osnabrück
Osnabrück is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, some 80 km NNE of Dortmund, 45 km NE of Münster, and some 100 km due west of Hanover. It lies in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest...

, together with Lübeck
The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is the second-largest city in Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany. It was for several centuries the "capital" of the Hanseatic League and, because of its Brick Gothic architectural heritage, is listed by UNESCO as a World...

 Superintendent Herman Bonnus, Franz planned to introduce the Reformation. In Minden
Minden is a town of about 83,000 inhabitants in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The town extends along both sides of the river Weser. It is the capital of the Kreis of Minden-Lübbecke, which is part of the region of Detmold. Minden is the historic political centre of the...

, where the Lutheran doctrine had been widely accepted even before he took office, Franz attempted in 1535 to reach out to the balance of the city beyond just the cathedral chapter. These efforts at aiding the Reformation were closely linked to his desire to have his relationship with Anna Polmann legalized and to have the three dioceses of Münster, Osnabrück, and Minden secularized, in order to create a secular territory for his heirs.

Marriage and issue

In Einbeck Franz met Anna Polmann (1505-1557), the daughter of local linen weaver, Barthold Polmann, with whom he lived from 1523/24 in a marriage-like relationship, having eight children with her; four sons and four daughters. Whether or not the couple entered into a proper marriage is unclear, however his children were well looked after and proved in any case that Franz von Waldeck was a caring father. His children were:
  • Franz von Waldeck, Jr. (1524 - ) who was a clergyman
  • Barthold von Waldeck (1536 - ) who also was a clergyman
  • Phillipp von Waldeck (1538-1605) who was also a clergyman
  • Elizabeth Catherina von Waldeck (1540-1579) who married Wernerus Crispinus (1535-1604)
  • Johanna von Waldeck (1540-1572)
  • Ermegard von Waldeck (1542- )
  • Christoph von Waldeck (1543-1587) who married Agnes Pagenstecher (1545-1606)
  • Katherina von Waldeck (1544-1597).

External links

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